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Full text of "Linguistic Survey Of India Vol Ii Mon Khmer Siamese Chinese Families"

KHASSI (STAHDAEB).                                                     7
y is used for the obscure Towel, not exactly the short a of Aryan, but something
beU een it and the Germane* or the French eu, hut shorter than these.1
Very rarely it is long, and then=the Ereuchez* in i heure/ T is neyer used
as a consonant, its place being taken hy the vowel i, as ia=zya.
w is used in diphthongs for vocal 2*; elsewhere it is a consonant,
DipMhong8-~ai, di, as in Aryan* ««?=.Aryan au; aw~Aryan ait; e&=not exactly
Aryan e, but with the i-sound distinctly audible; ew—Aryan en; ~tw~Aryan lit, but pro-
nounced together so as to make one syllable; oi as in ' boil'; uit m, each sound separ-
ately heards but as one syllable.
Diacritical marks of length are seldom used in writing, and the long Towel I is
sometimes expressed by doubling, M, e.g., slm, bird; siim (sim), chief; dw^fire; diingt
tree. Occasionally the diaeresis is used to denote long «, thus, i. le is also used for a
sound hardly distinguishable from long I.
Aspirated Consonant*.—Hh, Jch^ dht jh, phs th, nght as in Aryan; only one d and t
(not two, dental and cerebral) are used, as in English; sh as in 'shun.' The language
does not contain the sounds of/(except as a dialectic form of ph), g (except in foreign
words), oh or z (except In the Lyng-ngam and "War dialects),
Nff is frequent as an initial, and after initial s} as sttgi, sngem, sngur. The g is
never heard separately,
Tones.—"Khwssi possesses tones3 like the other languages of the Mon-Khmer family,
Tai, and Chinese. The accurate representation of these in writing has not yet been
consistently provided for, though they are distinctly differentiated to the ear, One tones
however, the abrupt, is expressed by the use of h after the vowel; e.g.a la, the particle
for the past tense; Iah3 the particle of potentiality. Wherever h follows a vowel, this is
to be understood to be its force.3
ApJiczrests*—Khassi abounds in initial consonants {not, however, exceeding two3) i but
the effect of abrasion produced by rapid utterance is to reduce these compounds by the
omission of the first; Uatig, goat j 'lang-brot, kid: shnong, village ; 'nong-JcseJi, village of
the pine-trees: 6nw, man; BOhSrwo, a tall kind of millet: J&sah, ring; Jsti, hand; 'sah-'U,
finger-ring,
GEUEBAL STE¥OTUSE,—The elements of the Khassi vocabulary are monosyl-
labiCs and the language, as the specimens show, is still distinctly monosyllabic in
character, each syllable, for the most part, having its definite and proper force. But
there are certain syllables —in the Standard Khassi all prefixes—which have lost their
separate individuality, and are used to form compound roots. These have almost invariably
the weakest vowel, y, which they tend to lose and to coalesce with the following conso-
nant. Thus TcJiymih, Wmih; Jcypa, Jcpa; kymi, Jsml The compounds thus formed tend
to aphseretise the first element, and we have pa, ml(mei] as the residuum. In verbs
these syllables (pyn-, pyr-, kyr-, Jcyn-, tyr-3 syr-j etc) play a considerable part in producing
secondary roots, Compound roots, in which each element retains its force and is distinctly
1 Foombraed witli r, as in the prefixes %r-, syr-, tgr-, etc., appears to repiesent very accurately the vocal r of the old
Aryan alphabet, still retained in some of the Slavonic languages. It is most frequently in contact with the liquids, lt m, n, r,
J In a large numbei of oases the A represents n loat consonant, usually £. Thus barok, all, is m Lyng-ngam prok; blafi
(Synteng), ahaie, stands for IJiak (Bengali lhag). Compaia also the Khassi (ky)poh, belly, with the Mikir poJfe, and the
Khassi *SoA, beat, with the Mikir cAo£ The abrupt tone is due to the disappearance oE this consonant.
3 Aspirated consonants, ng, and eh. are here treated as single letters,